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You would think after having a baby last year I would be prepared for the pending arrival of my second son. Yet, my husband and I find ourselves scratching our head about what we did.

For the most part, parenting is based on instincts that you develop over time. No matter how many books you read, they can’t truly prepare you for what’s in store. Your child might differ from the one described that will have you pull out your hair and ask yourself what you’re doing wrong.

Don’t.

“Hey babe, wasn’t there something we couldn’t do with a newborn?” I find myself asking my husband.

“Do you remember what it is?”

While he’s not concerned with what we will and won’t remember with this baby, I am. Call it a Virgo tendency or the need to be as prepared as possible, many mothers simply don’t throw caution to the wind like men.

I think it’s very easy for moms who’ve been in the game–regardless of time–to forget all the caution they took with a new baby. Heck, I can barely remember what I ate for lunch as I’m constantly chasing behind my 15 month old son.

If you’re expecting another child and trying to remember what you did for the first, here are some tips and takeaways for life with a newborn.

Post pregnancy and newborn cliff notes

(Post pregnancy)

  • Bleeding (lochia) is expected and lasts a few days to weeks. Ready those overnight “sumo” pads as you’re going to need them.
  • It might take a while before you’re comfortable with stooling. Do make sure you take a stool softener to assist you.
  • Soreness is expected so try not to overexert yourself. Get help when and where possible.
  • Nipple cream is a must as they will be sore and have the potential to crack.

(Newborns)

  • Babies need to go to the bathroom at least once during the first 24 hours. As a rule of thumb, they should wet a diaper the same amount of times as days (e.g. two diapers in two days).
  • Nurse as long as the baby wants–alternating between breasts. Try not to introduce a bottle unless absolutely necessary for at least 3-4 weeks.
  • Only use alcohol pads to clean around the belly button. No official baths until after the remainder of the umbilical cord falls off. Sponge baths are okay but should occur twice a week or every other day at most. Use lukewarm water but no soap.
  • Vitamin A&D ointment is ideal for your child. Try not to use powder or talc–and white rash ointments only when needed.
  • Fold down your newborn’s diaper so the belly button area can breathe. Many newborn diaper brands provide a special diaper for this.
  • If you have a little boy, aim his “ting ting” down in the diaper. You don’t want a liquid surprise when you open it.
  • No soap or lotion on the baby’s face for the first month (speak to your pediatrician for their recommendations).
  • Wash your household’s clothing and linens that will touch your baby in dye and fragrant-free detergent.
  • Don’t microwave bottles (become too hot and lose nutrients). Instead, place refrigerated milk in hot water to warm up to room temperature.

What are your tips?

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